Rank #1: Episode 5.5 – On Filipino Accents
Is mimicking Filipino accents an offensive act? Do Fil Ams make fun of immigrants because they attempt to be American? Is it OK when non-Filipinos imitate the accent? When is it “all in good fun”?
We understand the propensity of mimicking Filipino accents by many Filipino Americans stems largely from their class and cultural privilege in the United States, but can it possibly come from anything else? Of course, we don’t have all of the answers, but we get a dialogue going here in this mini-episode. Have a listen!
Rank #2: Episode 91 – TFAL talks Paleontology: It’s not just Dinosaurs!
Did you know that Paleontology is more than just dinosaurs? If so, YAY for you! When the opportunity to talk to a Filipino American paleontologist came about it got Elaine excited to talk all things dinosaurs, which is exactly what happens in the beginning of this episode.
Luckily TFAL talks story with Gabe Santos, Filipino American paleontologist on staff at the Alf Museum of Paleontology based out of Claremont, CA. Gabe shares his journey from bio major to paleontology and how a trip to the Natural History Museum inspired this whole process. He is also the founder of Cosplay for Science, a STEAM-powered science community initiative that reveals the real hidden science in fandoms that was featured in this article: Teaching Science Through Cosplay.
Have you ever thought about being a paleontologist? Are you a cosplayer using your talents for education? Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at email@example.com.
Rank #3: Our very first episode – Filipino Parents!
Here is our first podcast episode about Filipino parents. Elaine, Joe, and Ryan first introduce themselves and then discuss what it’s like growing up with Filipino parents. We then interview our guests, Glenda Gamboa and Joel Quizon, and ask what it’s like to raise their son, Kamayo. Take a listen and hilarity will ensue. Lesson from the episode, “Abstinence!” =)
Stream the podcast from Mixcloud below, or directly download the whole file here.
Rank #4: Episode 5 – Back to School: Filipinos in Higher Education
Back to School: Filipinos & Higher Education. A conversation about Pilipino Studies w/Ivy Dulay Daulo & Kevin Casasola. On this episode we share our personal college experiences and the role of Pilipino Studies and Asian American Studies has played in our lives. Special thanks to Ivy Dulay Daulo for sharing about her experiences as an instructor at California State University Long Beach and to Kevin Casasola for sharing about his experiences as a student at University of California, Los Angeles.
Side note: Color Your Troubles Away has been rescheduled since we recorded this show. It is scheduled for Thursday, October 20th, 7-9pm at POT Lobby Bar at The Line Hotel in Koreatown, Los Angeles.
Rank #5: Episode 10 – Filipinos in the Nursing Industry
Are you a nurse? Do you know someone or are you related to someone in the nursing field? (Hahaha…of course you do!). Ever wonder why there are so many Filipino nurses in the United States?
The statistics are astonishing. According to Aaron Terrazas and Jeanne Batalova from the Migrant Policy Institute, nearly one of every four employed Filipino-born women in the United States worked as a registered nurse. Among the 666,000 Filipino-born female workers in the U.S. age 16 and older employed in the civilian labor force in 2008, 22.9% (or 152,000) reported working as registered nurses (Source: MPI).
In our latest episode, TFAL speaks with Catherine Ceniza Choy, the foremost scholar on Filipinos in the nursing industry. She is a Professor and a former Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). She is also a core faculty member of the Center for Southeast Asia Studies, and an affiliated member of the Center for Race & Gender. Her research expertise includes Asian American history, Filipino American studies, immigration history, adoption studies and nursing history.
TFAL got a chance to discuss Ceniza-Choy’s award-winning book Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History (Duke University Press, 2003), which explored how and why the Philippines became the world’s leading exporter of nurses to the United States.
You can purchase your copy of her excellent book here: Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History. Also, check out her latest book, Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption in America.
Are you a nurse and would like to share your experience? Email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or better yet, leave a voice message on the TFAL hotline (805) 394-TFAL and maybe, just maybe, we’ll play it on our next podcast episode!
Rank #6: Episode 25 – Filipino Americans and Panethnic Identity
As a Filipino, do you identify as an Asian American? Do you feel more affinity towards Mexican Americans and other Latinos? Do you believe Filipinos are Pacific Islanders? Do Filipino Americans belong to a specific “race”?
These are some questions Filipino Americans grapple with all the time. Living in the United States, “Asian,” “Pacific Islander,” or even “Latino” is thrust upon Filipinos. Filipino Americans, in numerous ways, do not fit these arbitrary racial and/or panethnic categories, yet many of us have the arduous task of choosing which one we belong to.
In this TFAL episode, we explore the ways in which these arbitrary panethnic categorizations are unfair to Filipinos, how they fail to encapsulate our lived experiences, and how they elide so much of our political realities in the United States. We speak with Dr. Anthony Ocampo, Associate Professor of Sociology at Cal Poly Pomona and author of the renowned book The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race.
Listen as Anthony talks about Filipino Americans ambiguous belonging to Asian America and what Filipinos need to do to advance from our marginalized position under the Asian American category and in the United States at large. Later, we have a great conversation about his future book project on the experiences of LGTBQ persons of color. Also, we find out what race Ryan really is!
How do you identify? Do you believe Filipino American are Asian or any other category? Drop us a line on our voicemail, (805) 394-TFAL (8325)!
Rank #7: Episode 88 – Colorism in the Filipino Community
“Don’t play out in the sun. You’ll get too dark!”
Most Filipinos have heard this phrase from parents or elders numerous times when they were children. For Filipino Americans, this phrase might strike a chord as an example of Filipinos’ preference for lighter skin. For some, it may conjure up memories of being bullied, traumatized, and socially excluded for having darker skin. For others, the phrase may simply be a reminder of how to maintain a certain privilege for having lighter skin. Regardless of one’s memory of that phrase, skin tone has unfortunately shaped all of our lives.
Colorism, the prejudice and discrimination based on skin tone, is a centuries-old practice of class stratification in many societies. In the Philippines, light-skinned folks have a tremendous amount of social privilege compared to those who are dark-skinned. Filipino celebrities, for example, go to great lengths to maintain the light-skin tone in contradistinction to their largely dark-skinned audience. As such, colorism has fueled a multi-billion dollar world-wide industry based on skin-lightening products. But where and how did it originate?
Colorism predates European colonialism and has been prevalent in many complex societies all over the world where field and domestic labor under the sun is not valued highly. The practice of binukot among the Panay Bukidnon, for example, where young women were shielded from the sun in order to attract higher suitors, predates Spanish arrival in the Philippines. Nonetheless, three centuries of colonialism has solidified and exacerbated colorism in Philippine society. Colorism is a sad reality and it affects many people, including Filipino Americans.
However, folks like Asia Jackson and her #MagandangMorenx movement and the backlash from colorist ad campaigns from skin lightening products have made inroads into trying to change the cultural perception that light-skinned is better. Many Filipino and Filipino Americans have been slowly changing the discourse around skin tone with phrases like “Brown is Beautiful” and owning the term, kayumanggi. It’s an uphill, yet necessary battle.
Joanne Rondilla, SJSU Professor
In this episode, we talk about our experiences with colorism and where we’ve seen it manifest. Then, we speak to Joanne Rondilla, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at San Jose State University, who has done extensive research on colorism in the Philippines and in the United States. Listen as she discusses the history of colorism in Philippine society, the “secret” of the skin-lightening industry, the limitations of “colonial mentality” as the sole explanation for colorism, and suggestions on how to deal with colorism in your family. It was a tremendous privilege to have Joanne on TFAL and we hope you enjoy the episode as much as we did.
What are you experiences with colorism? Do people tell you that you’re “too dark.” Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at email@example.com.
Finally, a special shout out to our TPALs who emailed us some of their comments and questions. Here’s a picture of TPAL, Toni Geurts, and her beautiful mother:
Rank #8: Episode 78 – Filipino American Karaoke Culture
Filipinos and karaoke go together like peanut butter and jelly, like peas and carrots, like green mangoes and bagoong. Karaoke is essential to every Filipino party and every late night Filipino beer house. We perform karaoke in the swankiest KTV room to the local roadside hole in the wall. Filipinos even kill each other over karaoke! Though the first karaoke machine was invented by Daisuke Inoue in 1975, did you know that it was a Filipino, Roberto Del Rosario, who holds the first patent on a karaoke system he developed in 1975, the Karaoke Sing-Along System? Yes, karaoke is in the Filipino blood.
In this TFAL episode, we finally discuss karaoke, the beloved Filipino pastime. We discuss what makes a good karaoke song, what’s a good karaoke playlist, and why performance and atmosphere – whether on a night out or in the living room – is so important. We also talk about funny cultural nuances that make Filipino and Filipino American karaoke jam sessions so unique. And of course, there is actual singing involved.
What’s your favorite karaoke jam? Do you have a memorable moment that involves karaoke? Drop us a line on our voicemail (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Rank #9: Episode 90 – SDCC 2019 Panel: Filipinx in Podcasting
Photo by Producer Mike
This year TFAL’s Elaine and Producer Mike got to take in the magic that is San Diego Comic Con (SDCC). The panel was hosted by Diverse Geeks in Focus with Alix Catherine (host – Ready Set Geek!) moderating the panel of Gemma Vidal (host – Diverse Geeks in Focus), Justin Quizon (Screen Rant, That Hashtag Show), Earl Baylon (Tomb Raider Series, Pangeekery), JPG (CEO – Geek Say What? Network), & Elaine Dolalas (host – This Filipino American Life).
Thank you to Diverse Geeks in Focus for the opportunity to be on this panel and to share our Filipinx American stories with the SDCC audience!
Rank #10: Episode 76 (33) – When Filipino Pride Goes Wrong…
Most of us have some ounce of Filipino pride. “Successes” by other Filipinos such as Bruno Mars, Jordan Clarkson, and Catriona Gray become “successes” for us. Because Filipinos are constantly rendered invisible in the Western world, we tend to internalize these victories as our own. But what happens when fellow Filipinos do something “embarrassing”? Countless incidents in our past – Pacquiao’s anti-LGBT comments, Filipino divers, the 1992 Philippine Little League Team, Marcos, Duterte, etc. – have cause an unwanted spotlight on us.
In this TFAL episode, we discuss those moments that make Filipinos and Filipino Americans feel “not so proud.” How do we feel about it? How do we handle it? Does our pride remain incognito, then emerge when something goes right? Are we simply out for global recognition rather than internal legitimation? What does this tell us about “Filipino Pride” (nationalism) in the diaspora at its root? Why is representing an entire Filipino nation our cross to bear? We explore some of these questions and more in this latest episode.
Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.
Rank #11: Episode 26.5 – Filipino American Weddings
(Photo Credit: In The Clouds Events)
The union of two people is a very momentous occasion and the catalyst for much celebration throughout human history. Weddings signify many things from the love of two people, the alliance of two families, and the coming together of a community.
Weddings also signify exclusion. Marriages were and still are elusive to many people. In decades past, people of color (including Filipino Americans) were forbidden from marrying Whites in many states of this country. The LGBTQ community was not able to partake in marriages legally until recently (and even its legality is on shaky ground at this day and age). Weddings (at least extravagant ones anyway) can exclude those without the means.
And yet, weddings continue to be prevalent in our communities. They provide an opportunity to experience some cultural traditions. Jumping the broom. Riding a white horse. Wearing something blue. Many of these traditions are ways the married couple can share a part of themselves with people they love.
In this TFAL mini-episode, the crew discusses Filipino and Filipino American wedding traditions. A mixture of Filipino, Spanish, and American traditions, many Filipino American weddings have a certain formula to them. We talk about some of them and more!
Which Filipino or Filipino American wedding traditions do you know of? Let us know by emailing us at email@example.com or call our voicemail, (805) 394-TFAL (8325)!
Rank #12: Episode 6.5 – Gambling
TFAL Co-Host Elaine at Harrah’s in New Orleans.
May the odds be forever in your favor!
Maybe you find a slot machine’s bright colors and sounds entertaining, or perhaps you cherish the time you spend with friends on your way to a casino in a free air conditioned bus, or maybe even more simply, it could be the thrill of the possibility of having more money than you started with. However you cut it, a lot of Filipino Americans like to gamble in casinos, at home, or in an underground cockfighting ring. For many Filipinos throughout the U.S., gambling is easily accessible. Over 60 Indian casinos are available to people who have itchy palms for those in California like us. And if that’s not enough, Nevada is just a few hours away.
Is it really in the Filipino culture to gamble? Is gambling a form of entertainment? Is there more to gambling than trying to get rich? Are Filipinos just trying to cash in their good karma?
Listen to our stories about mahjong marathon sessions; find out which TFAL member is the Pusoy Dos Champion; or listen as we vocalize a slot machine’s sound of fake coins dropping into a bucket (yeah, we did that). Take a chance and download our podcast. If you listen, you might just win something!
Rank #13: Episode 13 – Filipinos and Gentrification
Apparently, cities are back. People are moving back into the inner core of cities. Coffee shops, bars, and artisanal eateries are thriving in certain neighborhoods. Millennials are ditching their cars for public transportation. Politicians are touting the brand new economy of “hipster-dom” that is reviving cities nationwide.
But what do these changes mean for families who live in these inner city neighborhoods? What happens to the demographics of the city? How does it affect young folks who are looking for a place to live or trying to buy their first home? How do these economic shifts impact the diverse Filipino American community who live in both the inner core and outer suburbia?
In this TFAL episode, the crew speaks with Jennifer Ganata, a housing advocate and community activist in Los Angeles, to discuss the economics of gentrification and how it affects Filipinos in Southern California and throughout the country. Whether you live in neighborhood likes SoMa Pilipinas, Beacon Hill, or Woodside or suburban areas like Rancho Bernardo, Bergenfield, or Skokie, gentrification has a major impact on all of us.
Have you seen major demographic shifts in the place you grew up in or the place you live now? Do you have any opinions on gentrification? Let us know your thoughts on firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 394-TFAL.
Rank #14: Episode 22.5 – Filipino and Filipino American Slang
Naks naman, pre!
Everyday, we hear a new term or phrase or acronym that we totes have to google. With the ever evolving ways of communicating, we can expect some of our words and phrases to be shortened and even more so, turn into widely-used slang.
Slang has multiple uses. It can be used for inclusion. People use slang to create and reinforce a people’s identity through a shared network of communication. On the other side of the coin, slang can be used for exclusion as well, essentially demarcating who’s in the know and who isn’t. Slang can also be a way to rebel. Many people use slang as coded or hidden words to conceal meanings from those in authority. The use of slang among Filipinos and Filipino Americans is no different We have used slang to include, exclude, and rebel in many forms.
On this TFAL mini episode, we discuss Filipino and Filipino American slang. We explore Filipino “tadbalik,” the practice of inverting and reversing letters and syllables of words to give them new meanings, which is believed to have developed among Filipinos rebelling against the Spanish in the 19th century. It also gained popularity anti-martial law youth in the 1970s. Likewise, we discuss slang among Filipino Americans. Though fewer in number, Fil Ams have developed a unique identity through slang as well.
We only shared a few slang words, but do you know others?? If you want to share some Filipino or Filipino American slang that was hella popular where you grew up, feel free to email us or leave a comment below!
EDITOR’S NOTE: CON-ASS is Constituent Assembly, not Congressional Assembly. =)
Rank #15: Episode 12.5 – Reflections on “My Family’s Slave” and Katulong Culture
Most of us have read “My Family’s Slave” on the Atlantic, written by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex Tizon. The article saddened us, angered us, and confused us. What’s to make of the story of Eudocia Pulido, aka Lola, who toiled her whole life against her will and without pay for a family that wasn’t her own?
There are many angles and layers to this gut-wrenching story. On this episode, the TFAL crew gives you our thoughts and reflections on the article as well as “katulong culture” in general. It’s a tough issue to wrap our heads around, and we only scratch the surface. Give it a listen and let us know what you think in the comments below or leave a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325).
For more opinions on this article, check out this compiled list of responses/reactions from TFAL listener Marnette Federis. Also, for great insight on the Alex Tizon’s life, the history of enslavement culture in the Philippines, and the life of a trafficked Filipina woman in New York, listen to NPR’s Code Switch podcast episode on the story, featuring one of Joe’s grad school advisors, Professor Vicente Rafael.
Here are links to local organizations who are fighting for the rights of domestic workers and those who are victims of human trafficking:
- Pilipino Workers Center (Los Angeles)
- Filipino Migrant Center (Long Beach)
- Filipinos Advocates for Justice (Oakland)
- Damayan Migrant Workers Association (New York)
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Nation-wide)
- Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (Los Angeles)
Rank #16: Episode 89 – “Alam ko na kaya mo”: Experiences of Filipino “Positive” Parenting
The TFAL crew is reunited in studio after a few months of travels to Canada and the Philippines. This episode is inspired by a The Tagalog Project Instagram post that highlighted positive Pilipino Praises. When TFAL shared this post the feedback was on a certain theme. “Positive” parenting seemed like a foreign concept to several TPALs.
While Filipino parents may not show their love through these phrases, they may do so through other ways like asking “Kumakain ka na? Did you eat yet?” In this episode we highlight our experiences or lack there of with “positive” parenting.
What are your experiences with positive parenting? Are you a parent now? Have you started using similar phrases? Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at email@example.com.
Headed to San Diego Comic Con? Join us at the Filipinx Voices in Podcasting Panel! by Diverse Geeks in Focus, Gemma Vidal (host – Diverse Geeks in Focus), Alix Catherine (host – Ready Set Geek!), Justin Quizon (Screen Rant, That Hashtag Show), Elaine Dolalas (host – This Filipino American Life), Earl Baylon (Tomb Raider Series, Pangeekery), & JPG (CEO – Geek Say What? Network) will talk about how they represent the Filipinx diaspora in the podcasting world, tell stories that are uniquely our own, and how Filipinx voices fit into geek culture overall.
The panel will be hosted at:
Neil Morgan Auditorium, San Diego Central Public Library
330 Park Blvd, Downtown, San Diego, California 92101
Friday, July 19, 5-6pm
More info can be found here: TFAL at San Diego Comic Con 2019
Want to check out CLARITA, the film we talk about at the top of the episode? Here’s the trailer! Head to their website for screening locations: CLARITA
Rank #17: Bonus Episode – TFAL talks Crazy Rich Asians
On this bonus episode the TFAL crew talks about the recent phenomenon that is Crazy Rich Asians. The popular novel by Kevin Kwan debuted in 2013. The film premieres this month with high expectations. Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, and director Jon M. Chu grace the cover of Hollywood Reporter with the cover story The Stakes Are High for ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ — And That’s the Point.
Constance Wu shared why this film is a monumental moment for Asian Americans. Crazy Rich Asians is the first blockbuster film with a predominantly Asian American cast in twenty years. Nico Santos is a part of the cast and Kris Aquino makes an appearance, but does this film have a larger impact on Filipino Americans? Is the story reflective of our own stories? Does it have to be? We discuss these issues and more on this bonus episode.
— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) August 1, 2018
What are your thoughts on Crazy Rich Asians? Let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our voicemail, (805) 394-TFAL (8325)!
Rank #18: Episode 23 – Filipino Healing Traditions w/ Herbalaria
If you grew up in a Filipino household, it’s possible that you’ve had experiences with natural medicines or remedies — from your parents use of the aloe vera plant on a burn to the use of tawas as underarm deodorant.
For TFAL co-host Ryan, he would have never known the healing effects of ginger root had his dad not ground some up, created some paste with it, spread it on his sprained ankle, and wrapped it up with cloth as he recited a little prayer. Although the use ginger root or other herbs and plants are very effective, it is sometimes looked upon as too simple or inadequate in the eyes of Western/modern medicine practitioners. Who knows what Western medicine’s comment would be regarding that prayer?!
In reality, Filipino traditional healing is extremely complex. Although it can sometimes be as simple as using ginger in your tea, Filipino healing traditions encompass faith, intentionality, and connectivity to nature, which all have their own specific guidelines and processes. We all have a connection to our parents and nature, but are we aware enough to know how to channel it or know its power?
On this episode of This Filipino American Life, we discuss Filipino healing traditions with Lyn Pacificar, an albularya or traditional folk herbalist/spiritual healer, and her partner Gilbert. Lyn comes from a long line of Filipino healers and mystics. Her dad, a hilot from the islands of Leyte and Samar in the Philippines, while her mom hails from the Islands of Mindanao, Panay, and Bohol–all within the Western Visayan region of the Philippines. Lyn uses a combination of modalities including prayers, ritual, diagnostic readings, and ancestral communication to achieve a certain goal for the recipient. Throughout our discussion Lyn explains her vocation and speaks to the power of our own pre-colonial methods of healing.
Join the TFAL crew as we explore our own experiences with natural healing we learned from our families. We share our thoughts on Western medicine, talk about the healing effects of different natural plants and herbs, and discuss how our pre-colonial healing traditions meld with our Catholic faith. Her inspiring life’s work sets out to re-invigorate people to unearth those hidden memories within our souls, reminding us how we truly lived in harmony with Mother Earth. Have a listen.
Did you grow up or do you practice Filipino healing traditions? Feel free to email us at email@example.com, leave us a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL, or write us a comment below!
Finally, check out Lyn Pacificar and her awesome products on her website!
Rank #19: Episode 73 (31.5) – Reflections on Beauty Pageants and Miss Universe Catriona Gray
Though beauty pageants in the Philippines can be traced back to the celebration of Santacruzan and other religious festivals, modern beauty pageants, emerged out of the Manila Carnival, an annual event during the early 1900s. According to scholar Genevieve Clutario, the queen contest became a platform where both Filipino nationalists’ and American colonial officials attempted to redefine Filipina femininity and with it, the image of the Filipino nation. Today, beauty pageants are a fixture in almost every Filipino celebration from the small town fiesta, to the ever-popular Miss Universe contest.
In this episode of TFAL, the crew, with special guests Gerlie Collado and Kat Carrido-Bonds, discuss the pervasive cultural phenomenon of beauty pageants in the Philippines and the impact of Catriona Gray’s Miss Universe win on Filipinos everywhere. Why were so many Filipinos ecstatic over Gray’s victory? What does her win say about the Filipino nation? Why are pageants so pervasive in the Philippines? Can we simply ignore beauty pageants as spectacles of patriarchal notions of femininity? Or are there more nuanced aspects to such extravagance?
Have any thoughts on beauty pageants? Leave us a voicemail at 805-394-TFAL (8325) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE NOTE: We are slowly veering away from the “.5” numbering system of the episodes, in case you’re wondering where episodes 32-72 are.
Rank #20: Episode 11 – Undocumented Filipinos
As Filipino Americans, we all know or know of someone in our lives who is undocumented. That one uncle who left his family in the Philippines. That one auntie who’s always “fixing her papers.” That one friend who doesn’t leave the house very often. According to various statistical computations, Filipinos who are undocumented in the United States number anywhere between 250,000 and 310,000, representing the largest Asian undocumented population. Far from being solely a Latino issue, unlawful immigration very much affects Filipinos in a multitude of ways.
In this episode of This Filipino American Life, we speak to Vanessa Vela-Lovelace, a community leader who spent much of her life as an undocumented immigrant, and Set Ronquillo, an immigrant rights activist who is currently undocumented. Vanessa and Set have led and continue to lead complicated lives because of their immigration statuses. Listen as they share their experiences of fear, anger, and hope living in the United States. And like Mateo Liwanag’s character in the NBC show Superstore and Pulitzer-prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas, their stories will shed light on a huge part of our Filipino American community.